Trump to Investigate Alleged Chinese Trade Violations
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
On Friday, Trump pressed China’s Xi Jinping to act tough against North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
They’re essential deterrents against feared US aggression, posing no threat to any nations except in self-defense if attacked.
On Saturday, the White House announced plans to investigate Beijing for alleged intellectual property violations. On Monday, Trump is expected to sign a memo authorizing it. Severe trade penalties could follow, including tariffs on Chinese steel and other imports.
Although the Constitution grants Congress tariff-imposition authority, congressional legislation delegates the power to presidents under the following circumstances:
• under the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act against any nation as long as America is at war somewhere;
• under the 1977 Emergency Economic Powers Act – during a real or invented national emergency; no legitimate one existed in America since WW II ended;
• under the 1974 Trade Act, permitting across-the-board tariffs – based on an allegedly needing to confront an “adverse impact on national security from imports;” and
• under the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, targeting certain industries.
If targeted, China will almost certainly retaliate, sparking a trade war, assuring losers, not winners.
Reportedly, Trump intends using 1974 Trade Act authority, permitting the imposition of tariffs and other barriers on Chinese imports, circumventing World Trade Organization mechanisms for dealing with trade disputes.
Days earlier, Beijing’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said bilateral trade is “mutually beneficial. Cooperation would benefit both sides and fighting would hurt both.”
Trump apparently intends using trade as a stick to get tougher Chinese action on North Korea, a foolhardy effort Beijing rejects.
An investigation if undertaken could take months or longer. In their Friday phone conversation, Xi stressed the importance of resolving the North Korean issue diplomatically.
A Beijing Foreign Ministry statement urged the “relevant sides (to) avoid words and actions that exacerbate tensions.”
According to China expert Yun Sun, Beijing “operate(s) from the conviction that China remains and will always be the No. 1 strategic threat to the US, so the issue of North Korea will be used against China – through sanctions, provocations and everything else.”
America’s regional military footprint remains a hugely provocative issue for China’s leadership.
An attack on North Korea leading to the overthrow of its government could result in US troops on China’s border, what Beijing considers unacceptable.
US-initiated trade war would hugely complicate things further, severely damaging bilateral relations more than already.
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